on February 23, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Crime
A lifetime ago, every year Carole Shipley looked forward to her wedding anniversary. But then a celebratory trip to Mexico for the occasion with her husband and friends ended in the unsolved kidnapping of her infant daughter, Samantha. Now, fifteen years after that horrific time, divorced and isolated, Carole is forced to relive the kidnapping by reporters who call every year on the anniversary of Samantha’s disappearance. However, this year when the phone rings, Carole hears the sweet voice of a girl claiming to be her long-lost daughter. Plunged back into the world of heartbreak, suspicion and questions that led the case to run cold so many years ago, Carole doesn’t know what or who to believe. But when she starts to figure it out, she finds the answers dangerously close to home.
For the past few years I have been a strictly-romance reader. If it didn’t have romance I really REALLY did not want to read it. But what’s funny is that I used to read mystery novels prior to my romance reading phase started. I have been going through a bit of a drought, I swear I picked up at least seven books and put each one down at or before the ten percent mark. So, I sought out a different genre and as a sort of palette cleanser and to be quite honest, I am so glad I found She’s Not There.
When I read the synopsis of She’s Not There the first thing that came to mind was the Madeline McCann story from more than a decade ago. A family on vacation. A night out with friends. Their daughter goes missing. Truth be told, I was always so intrigued by this news story so obviously that is the main reason I picked up the book.
The story is told in two parts, past and present spanning fifteen years. Caroline and Hunter, and their two children, Michelle and Samantha are headed to Rosarito, Mexico to celebrate their ten-year anniversary. As a surprise, Hunter has also invited friends and family to celebrate with them. On their last night there, their actual anniversary, Samantha goes missing without a trace.
Fifteen years later to the exact date, Carole receives a phone call from someone claiming they may be Samantha. Is it really her? Please, like I’m really going to spoil it.
As the story unfolds in the present, you read about the fallout on how this tragedy not only affected Carole and Hunter, but also their other daughter Michelle.
The story at times was a bit hard for me to read. How can one overcome such an incredible loss while still thinking about the “what ifs” and not getting any closure? The thought that their child might still be out there. How could no one have seen anything? Then the aftermath on how they were thrust into the limelight and torn to shreds and taken advantage of. My heart actually broke for Michelle more than anyone else. I think her pain and emotional issues were portrayed the way that many children may feel. Guilt played a huge part in this story understandably as well. Guilt can do some really funny thing to you.
The storytelling on this one is absolutely spot-on. It kept me completely engrossed, especially during the twists and turns that even threw me for a loop.
If you looking for a book with suspense that will literally keep you engrossed and theorizing the entire time…grab this one.
P.S. I did not see that ending coming.